Marine Ordered To Kill Women And Children
"At one house Sgt Wuterich gave an order to shoot on sight as Marines waited for a response after knocking on the door, said Lance-Cpl Mendoza.
"He said 'Just wait till they open the door, then shoot'.". Lance-Cpl Mendoza then said he himself shot and killed an adult male who appeared in a doorway.
During a subsequent search of the house he received an order from another Marine, Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, to shoot seven women and children he had found in a rear bedroom.
"When I opened the door there was just women and kids, two adults were lying down on the bed and there were three children on the bed ... two more were behind the bed,'' Lance-Cpl Mendoza said.
"I looked at them for a few seconds. Just enough to know they were not presenting a threat ... they looked scared.'' After leaving the room Lance Cpl Mendoza told Lance-Cpl Tatum what he had found.
"I told him there were women and kids inside there. He said 'Well, shoot them,''' Lance-Cpl Mendoza told prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Sean Sullivan."
The My Lai Massacre
"Two platoons moved in shortly after 8pm in the morning, while a third held back for "mopping up" duties. Both platoons soon splintered and once the shooting started it seemed to spark a chain reaction.
Soldiers went berserk, gunning down unarmed men, women, children and babies. Families which huddled together for safety in huts or bunkers were shown no mercy. Those who emerged with hands held high were murdered.
Some of the 120 or so soldiers opted out of the killing spree, but troop commander Lt William Calley was not one of them. In one incident, Lt Calley ordered two of his men to fire on a group of 60 civilians they had rounded up. When one refused, Calley took over and, standing 10 feet from the crowd, blazed his gun at them.
Elsewhere in the village, other atrocities were in progress. Women were gang raped; Vietnamese who had bowed to greet the Americans were beaten with fists and tortured, clubbed with rifle butts and stabbed with bayonets. Some victims were mutilated with the signature "C Company" carved into the chest.
By late morning word had got back to higher authorities and a cease-fire was ordered. My Lai was in a state of carnage. Bodies were strewn through the village. The death toll totalled 504."